The recent SCOTUS decision regarding affirmative action in college admission didn't necessarily come as a surprise to us. We have been asking Admisssions staff for the past many months about their thoughts and unequivocally, all are committed to building a diverse and welcoming campus environment that enriches learning for all students. Diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and viewpoints in conversations, interactions, and work make students stronger and more prepared for success.
Prior to this decision, Washington State passed Initiative 200 in 1998 and was one of nine states that had already banned the consideration of race in university admission. The others were: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Nebraska.
However, as Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his ruling, “nothing prohibits universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life, so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability that the particular applicant can contribute to the university.”
In reading between the lines coupled with our experience in working with universities that already did not consider race in admission decisions, we expect to see more opportunities for students to write about their experiences and extrapolating meaning from those experiences in addition to academic achievements, activities, and all the other parts of the application. Holistic review is very valuable, and now more so than ever. We will continue to encourage students to be mindful and reflect upon experiences that shaped them and how they can incorporate those perspectives into their applications.